Doctors warn about early signs of infection as community transmission looms over Agra

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PPE kits need to be made available to local medical practitioners at an affordable price, say senior doctors in Agra.

Sanitation workers in Delhi photographed wearing PPEs on April 21

Sanitation workers in Delhi photographed wearing PPEs on April 21 (Photo Credits: PTI)

Although the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) is yet to accept that the novel coronavirus infection has entered its third stage in India, the number of cases with no travel or direct contact history in Agra appears to be on the rise.

Alarmed by the rising number of infected patients in Agra, the medical fraternity is finding it difficult to screen all the suspected cases and has urged the local population to do regular self-screening based on a set of symptoms that may serve as a warning of the impending infection.

Senior ENT Surgeon Dr Devashish Bhattacharya claimed that the way the infection has spread from Agra to the rural areas, as well as the nearby districts, is alarming. He said that although the ICMR has officially not declared it as community spread as of yet, the way greengrocers, milk vendors, chemists, and even a thief was found infected in Agra with no contact or travel history, community spread appears to have begun in the district.

Asked if there was any chance that Covid-19 will not have a major effect in India due to the environmental conditions here, Dr Bhattacharya said that at this point of time, it could be assumed that this virus was here to stay, and avoiding the infection was possible only to some extent with social distancing. At some point in time, if a vaccine is not developed, herd immunity will be the only likely scenario for survival.

Citing the high prices of PPE Kits, Dr Bhattacharya said that the kits being made available to private physicians and surgeons were for one-time use only and were quite expensive, making it difficult for private practitioners to afford them for themselves and their staff every day. He said that the PPE kits need to be made affordable as at any private practitioner’s clinic, at least 3-4 kits will be required every day and at the current prices, they are not affordable for a lot of doctors.

Senior physician Dr SK Kalra told India Today that after a number of doctors and healthcare workers got infected with the virus, it has become hard for the medical professionals to treat the patients for even the smallest of illnesses, without first ascertaining that they were not infected with the virus. If people could self-screen themselves before coming to the doctor, it could help medical practitioners a great deal.

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About the author: Sohom Das
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